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New South Wales has recorded a further 20,050 COVID-19 infections overnight, as concerns grow about an Autumn Omicron wave.

The new figures mark a slight drop from the 20,087 cases seen yesterday.

A further six people have died as hospitalisations increased to 1060 but ICU admissions have decreased to 32.

SA records three new COVID-19 deaths

There have been three new COVID-19-related deaths reported in South Australia.

SA Health said a man in his 20s, a woman in her 40s, and a man in his 80s tested positive for the virus and passed away.

There are 136 people with COVID-19 in South Australian hospitals and five in ICU.

WA records 6176 new COVID-19 cases

Western Australia has 6176 new COVID-19 cases, which is a decrease of around 600 from yesterday’s total.

There are 134 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, while four are in ICU.

It comes as the government kickstarts its program of distributing free RATs at train stations across Perth.

More stands handing out the free RATs will be set up across universities, TAFE campuses, and shopping centres over the next few weeks.

Queensland records 11 new COVID-19 deaths

Queensland has recorded 11 new COVID-19 related deaths and 6103 new infections.

It brings the state’s total active cases to 34,075.

There are currently 245 Queenslanders with the virus in hospital and 20 in ICU.

Victoria records a drop in daily COVID-19 numbers

As the infectious Omicron BA.2 sub-variant spreads, experts are concerned real case numbers could be much higher.

Health experts will roll out a national COVID-19 surveillance program to get a better picture of what cases could look like.

Researchers will look at around 5,000 anonymous blood samples to see if they can pick up traces of COVID-19 antibodies.

Health care workers dressed in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are seen at the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital COVID-19 clinic in Sydney, Sunday, January 9, 2022.
COVID-19 cases are increasing, fueled by the spread of the infectious Omicron BA.2 sub-variant. (Bianca De Marchi)

“Samples for this survey were taken six weeks after the Omicron peak, which is sufficient for antibodies to have developed in people who were infected during that time,” says Professor Kristine Macartney, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance Director.

The data from those samples is predicted to show true number of cases lurking in our community is higher than what’s currently being reported.

“We know that relying on reporting of positive tests underestimates the true number of COVID-19 cases, particularly since high vaccine coverage has reduced the proportion of cases with symptoms. Serosurveys help us understand by how much,” says Dr Dorothy Machalek, lead investigator on the project from the Kirby Institute.

Coles Eastgardens

How Australia faced the emergence of the Omicron variant

Experts expect the first survey results will be released within weeks.

Health experts are urging residents across Australia to remain vigilant and adhere to public health measures.

“(Omicron) is probably just as severe and we have had more deaths this year in 2022 than in the whole of the previous two years,” infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy told Today on Thursday.

“We have to pay attention. We have to do clever things.”

He said a return to lockdown would not be necessary, but people should consider a return to mask-wearing indoors, working from home if possible, and avoiding crowds.

Source: 9News

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